Dalton (GA) – Girl Scout Brownie Troop 12617 of Whitfield County, Georgia and their leaders were recently recognized for the outstanding tobacco-free accomplishments they achieved as part of their healthy living community service project for this year.
Jennifer King of the North Georgia Health District presented trophies and merit badges to the group at New Hope Elementary School in Dalton on Tuesday, May 13 for their successful appeal to the Whitfield County Schools Board of Education in adopting the Georgia Model 100 Percent Tobacco-Free Schools Policy.*
The board voted to adopt the policy following a presentation by the troop at the board of education meeting on April 14. The board began to consider changing the policy several weeks prior to the vote after the troop had sent petition letters and tobacco-free pledges to Whitfield County Schools Superintendent Judy Gilreath.
"Although Whitfield County Schools has been a tobacco free system since 2001, the revised policy will bring us more in line with the state criteria required in order to be officially designated by the state as tobacco free,” Dr. Gilreath said after the policy was passed. She said of the scouts, “It is so encouraging to see this young troop of girls actively involved in making our community healthier for all of us. Troop 12617 and their adult leaders are to be commended for leading this effort."
The health district also recognized the troop on Tuesday for starring in a radio ad that is airing on several local stations and promotes the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line (1-877-270-STOP). **
“The positive impact Girl Scout Troop 12617 has had on the lives and health of the people of this community is deep and far-reaching,” said King, who is the public information officer for the health district.
Karen Edmondson, troop project leader and Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Chattanooga, explained that the troop project for this year has been healthy living, and for the ‘Take Action’ step, they involved the North Georgia Health District in the tobacco-free initiatives.
“This has been a wonderful collaboration between our troop and local public health,” Edmondson said. “These scouts and their troop leaders, Heather Clay and Mendy Mashburn, have worked diligently and effectively to create a healthy change for the better here in Whitfield County, Georgia.”
The North Georgia Health District, part of the Georgia Department of Public Health, supported this collaboration through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that is designated for tobacco-free community projects.
*Click here to view a video of the presentation Girl Scout Brownie Troop 12617 provided to the Whitfield County Schools Board of Education prior to the school tobacco-free policy vote.
**Click here to listen to Girl Scout Brownie Troop 12617 promoting the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line in a radio ad that is airing on several local stations.